Online Holiday Scams & How to Protect Your Data

December is the busiest shopping month of the year with several gift giving holidays within. Companies send out more email volume during this time to past purchasers or potential buyers and hackers are aware of this busy shopping season and will attempt to steal your information.

Earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security issued a release with tips to avoid phishing and malware scams which are worth paying attention to. We list popular ways hackers are tricking shoppers and how to protect yourself this holiday season. Happy online shopping!

Picking up YOUR packages                                                            

Companies are tailoring their purchase process to easier consumer methods such as buying products online that are picked up at a physical location. Make sure when purchasing this way that the merchant has a secure method to picking up the products in person, as well as a secure checkout page when purchasing beforehand.

E-Skimming

Similar to skimming a card and stealing that information, e-skimming works on the checkout page with javascript running in the background that steals your card details. Sometimes the hacker’s code looks like an application installing to complete the checkout process, which should never be the case. Use protective tools your browser offers to protect your information with encryption, and make sure the website is secure with an ‘https’ before the URL.

Shimming

Bank and credit cards are now equipped with chip enabled technology to crack down on skimming, a method where criminals attached a device to a transaction machine which were commonly attached to gas stations. However, with advancement of secure technology comes the threat of criminals cracking the technology to steal your card information, and have now started “shimming” chip cards successfully. Hackers place a “shim” or a thin device into the slot where you would stick the chip end of your card and will save your card information and used in instances where chip technology is not required, such as online purchases. You can protect yourself by setting up transaction alerts every time your card is used or use the contactless feature when paying so information cannot be stored and sold to third parties later.

Quick Checklist

While there are always new methods of hacking your secure information there are easy solutions and methods you should use when shopping online:

  • Don’t download shopping apps directly from a link as it could be malware installing onto your device.
  • Make sure you have researched the party purchasing from.
  • Check the URL to be sure you are on the correct page, and not a 3rd party page claiming to be the original company.
  • Make sure the site is ‘https’ enabled, not ‘http.’
  • Do not shop on public wi-fi, use private wi-fi that is secure and password protected.
  • Setup transaction alerts to monitor your accounts.

Whether holiday shopping online or sending secure data for business operations, don’t allow an unsecured network put your financial data at risk. Ask how our secure network monitoring services can improve your online security.